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Neurochem Res. 1991 Mar;16(3):235-42.

Postnatal expression of glutamate decarboxylases in developing rat cerebellum.

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  • 1Department of Biology, University of California, Los Angeles 90024.


The recent identification of two genes encoding distinct forms of the GABA synthetic enzyme, glutamate decarboxylase (GAD), raises the possibility that varying expression of the two genes may contribute to the regulation of GABA production in individual neurons. We investigated the postnatal development the two forms of GAD in the rat cerebellum. The mRNA for GAD67, the form which is less dependent on the presence of the cofactor, pyridoxal phosphate (PLP), is present at birth in presumptive Purkinje cells and increases during postnatal development. GAD67 mRNA predominates in the cerebellum. The mRNA for GAD65, which displays marked PLP-dependence for enzyme activity, cannot be detected in cerebellar cortex by in situ hybridization until P7 in Purkinje cells, and later in other GABA neurons. In deep cerebellar nuclei, which mature prenatally, both forms of GAD mRNA can be detected at birth. The amounts of immunoreactice GAD and GAD enzyme activity parallel changes in mRNA levels. We suggest that the delayed appearance of GAD65 is coincident with synapse formation between GABA neurons and their targets during the second postnatal week. GAD67 mRNA may be present prior to synaptogenesis to produce GABA for trophic and metabolic functions.

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